Sunday, August 19, 2007

War on Terrorism Reaches Basilan

The Philippines seems like a peaceful and fun place for soldiers to be stationed. However, the War on Terrorism is hot there and only getting hotter.

The island of Basilan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the newest battleground. In July, ten Filipino marines were beheaded by the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vowed revenge. The result has been heavy fighting by the marines against Abu Sayyaf and "rouge" elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has been in on-again off-again negotiations with the government.

The fighting is not new. It dates back to at least the very beginning of the 1900s. At the end of the Spanish-American War the United States became involved in an even greater war against the Filipinos. In the south the American forces battled Muslim "Moros" until 1913. The fighting was a proving ground for General "Blackjack" Pershing who helped break the will of Muslim rebels by burying dead insurgents with pigs. The future General George Patton also became famous in the south by tying dead insurgents to his car and driving it around the country side. The fighting in the south was long, hard, and disgusting.

Back then the Moro war was primarily tribal and political. Now; however, Islamic fascism has spread and it is part of a larger Jihad. Expect the Philippines to stay in the news for quite sometime.

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